Psalm 88:13-14 (NASB):
But I, O Lord, have cried out to You for help,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
O Lord, why do You reject my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
Have you been praying for something for a long time? The psalmist in Psalm 88 was apparently near the point of death and is pleading with God to “hear” his prayer. “May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry” (Psalm 88:2). As I read this passage, it gives me hope to see that other believers face the same questions that I do when prayer goes unanswered. What we do in response to that “unanswered” prayer reveals how strong our faith is. Do we continue to pray and trust God when things don’t go as we had planned or hoped? Or do we just give up and doubt God and His power to drastically change our circumstance?
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB):
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
So often, we try to “fix” things ourselves. And God says, “Go ahead, try it yourself and see how it works out.” We often try to “lean on our own understanding.” We arrogantly think that we know better than God how to best solve our problems. It is only when we turn to God and trust in Him that our situation will improve and our “path” will be made “straight.”
Luke 18:1(NIV): Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Jesus emphasized the importance of persistent prayer to his disciples. As believers, we also should continue to pray even when we can’t “see” any change in our circumstances. This “persistent” type of prayer serves to increase our faith and our trust in God. Faith is believing in what we can’t see, so when we persistently pray and we do “not give up,” we say to God that we trust Him with our very lives.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV): Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul puts things in the correct order for us. We are to “rejoice always” instead of wallowing in self-pity and complaining about our circumstances. We are to “pray continually” instead of praying only when things get bad enough that we begin to pray for relief from our problems. And finally, we are to “give thanks in all circumstances.” Did you notice the word “all?” We are to give thanks in good times and especially in bad times. Why? Because this is “God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God will make us stronger as we endure difficult moments in our lives. God is always with us, He will never “leave us or forsake us” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
I have been praying for something for over eight years now and although God has not answered my prayer, he has given me many indications that he will one day. I choose to believe in God’s will for my life and to have faith. Some days it’s not easy but it is the only way I know. I may get frustrated with God for what I perceive as his silence but I will never cease praying. I have the faith to believe that, one day, God will finally answer my prayer.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV): Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.